Experience as a Digital Mum to be

This all started from a friend of mine (not a digital mum) seeing a Digital Mum post and thinking of me.  She forwarded the information onto me (via social media of course) and I kept a watchful eye on this for a number of months.  I had more questions than answers and whittled away many minutes (perhaps an hour at a time) per day until they launched a competition in December 2016. The competition was “Giving the gift of #WorkThatWorks” and this was my entry:

DM Comp Entry

My post received the most likes which I’m very proud of.  But, it didn’t win although my efforts were kindly rewarded with a discount (top tip for businesses), which led to many a discussion with my husband about risk and a thorough cost/benefit analysis. I don’t enter into things without thinking about them and researching them but it soon became obvious that this unique method fitted my busy life as a Mum, wife, friend, volunteer, committee member and runner. It provided the right opportunity to train whilst maintaining/juggling my existing commitments so I got in touch with Digital Mums. I asked questions communicated for a while longer and finally decided to apply to enrol.  Unfortunately the next two months were already filled until, I got a cancellation in February and, that’s where the real excitement and anxiety began.

This was completely outside of the safety and comfort zone from my pre children experience as a Manager within a Social Housing setting. It filled me with both excitement and anxiety about the possibilities.  With each email I received, I was then asking myself “what have I done?” a theme which has remained constant throughout my course, but I never once regretted my choice. I posted a quote which reads: IMG_20170717_071551_695This is something that I turn to when I’m needing to give myself a push, realising I can do this, and I did.

My campaign is called @ActivelyBeYou is across three channels being Twitter, Instagram  & Facebook it centres around the community – sharing activities focussing on encouraging healthy body as well as tips on my passion, running.

Surprising myself writing a blog, I’d only ever written one and so really couldn’t class myself as a blogger, I’d love to do more of this and you can be my judge.

I really struggled with the influencer side of things at first as I thought I had found the right ones and who, turned out, not to be influencers.  Then I began to come across more and more as I discovered my true key influencers – I suddenly began to understand and put this into practice, resulting in RTs and engagement figures (all very exciting stuff, good job no one can actually see me reading my analytics, I do tend to do do celebratory dances on occasion).

I successfully maintained my marriage and no children or animals were harmed and my biggest success ‘hmmm’? That would have to be producing lovely images for Instagram and enjoying creating video from my own content too, I’ve really enjoyed being creative with photos, videos and building up the brand and surprised myself so many times. I really do believe I did the hustle because I completed 2 trail marathons in the space of 3 months, I also did an endurance race all whilst studying and campaigning, pretty darn determined.

Would I recommend the course?
I have gained confidence, friends (my peer group rock) and valuable knowledge (which I view as a continuous journey) – why wouldn’t I recommend the course?

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What does the future hold?
If I were ‘Mystic Meg’ or more likely ‘Septic Peg’ I would be employed utilising my shiz hot Customer Service skills gained in my previous life as a Housing Manager in combination with my new found passion/skills for Social Media. I’m not prescriptive as I glance into my crystal ball I see flexibility creating more options.

5 Things I’ve Learned from Running

Since starting running in April 2016, I’ve learned a lot about myself and about running too.

Andy Cooper
I’m sure you remember why I began running in April that, it was grief – the devastating loss of a loveable character, a fabulous family man (photo: Andy Cooper) and motivated with his training ethos for The JCBMudRun, I began to run, albeit slowly and with the aim of #GettingDirtyForAndy .

 

 

  1.  Time Out
    I learned that time out to refocus made me a better person.  I was more patient, organised and happy (which creates a snowball effect).
  2. Confidence Increase
    After having my confidence knocked out of me quite sometime back, I slowly and steadily started to regain some of my former self (always a work in progress).
  3. Achieve
    I had this realisation that I could do much more than I thought with determination firmly in my corner, like completing (without injury) two trail marathons within a 4 month window and from doing no consistent running until April 2016!

    Manchester Half Marathon
    My First Half Marathon – pictured with my team mates from Trentham Running Club
  4. Live outside of my comfort zone
    I don’t mean go and live somewhere else, I’ve got children, a husband and 2 cats to care for.  By this I mean I considered joining a running club and turned up without previous conversation and went for a few runs with them @TrenthamRC before officially joining in September 2016
  5.  Needed some support to reach higher
    I quickly learned they’re an encouraging group of like-minded, slightly crazy (in a great way), individuals with a strong team ethos.  They encouraged me to run my first Half Marathon in October 16, within 10 months of being with Trentham Running Club.  I’ve ran two Half Marathons and two trail marathons – which were never part of my plan.

What I’d love to be able to do is inspire people to run, there are so many reasons why a person chooses to run and I’m sure if you’re reading this, you either love running or, are considering it?

Whatever you choose try to #ActivelyBeYou

Fi x

Can I Run?

You already know that I am a Wife, Mummy of two active munchkins, I’m proud of that and actively encourage it, I also have two cats & this is my beautiful family.

Background
I hated running at school (unless it was break time), on the track, or cross country it didn’t matter.  A couple of decades later, through work I entered the Bupa Greater Manchester 10k.  Having a desk job, commuting 70 miles everyday to and from work, leaving me struggling with energy, unfit and not enough strength.  At age 31 I ran my first race and quite honestly it was a race but, one with myself to get to the finish line. Those 10K felt unreachable and without any training (stupid, I know), it made it all the more difficult.  Thankfully, I did do walking so, at least my body was used to some form of exercise and I managed to avoid injury.

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Time
passed

Successfully created two children, ate a little bit too much and struggled to move about due to SPD (it’s very painful, limited my movement and inability to be comfortable in any position sitting, standing, lying down).  Admittedly, I wasn’t in my prime, my body had housed two 9lb+ babies and we had all survived and that’s how I was functioning, overweight and not very healthy.

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Fast forward to April 2016 when I received some shocking news, our friend (Andy Cooper) had tragically died in a car crash on the way to work leaving his wife, Zoe (one of my closest friends) and 3 beautiful children and so many of us were floored (and still are at times) and we know her grief is continuous.  I just didn’t know how to be and what to do.  I set about explaining to my son, he shared a bond with Andy’s eldest child and I wanted to create another support mechanism in case it was needed. Then I decided out of the blue to go for a run, armed in grief and kitted out in active wear from supermarkets, I went for my first run to Keele & back.  Zoe asked if we would form a team in Andy’s honour and take part in #TheJCBMudRun Just as he had from it’s inception (Part of our team – photo above), we agree and formed a group of about 30 something and raised £9K for MIND in honour of Andy so that one day, his children will look back and see us #GettingDirtyForAndy and be able to understand just what an awesome guy he was and the amazing legacy of friendships and fun that he left behind.  He also made me run, now just over a year down the line I’ve completed two trail marathons and even joined Trentham Running Club .  I thought a running club was for the elite athletes, but I fit in nicely 🙂 I wouldn’t have attempted a trail run without them (let alone two)!

My message is, if you are thinking “Can I run?” Pop on your trainers and #ActivelyBeYou  and I know if I can, you can too!

Fi xx

Look out for our tips & pics on our Twitter, Facebook  & Instagram channels.

Mick HallTrailMaraTeam
Photo Credit: http://www.mickhall-photos.com/

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A Mum & Dad do Lunch at the Blockhouse – Sheet & Anchor (child free)

As a busy mum of two munchkins, I don’t often get the time to relax and enjoy the simple things in life. I often feel very tired quite early on and therefore it’s probably not a great idea to do book an evening meal as I may well fall asleep into my food.

My hubby decided that it would be best for us to celebrate our Wedding Anniversary on 16th May 2017 (8th if you’re interested though we’ve been a couple for so many more years than that).  So, we decided to go to the Blockhouse at the Sheet Anchor (part of the Paragon pub group) having driven down Whitmore Road and noticed it had been renovated last year.20170516_115434

I love everything about the funky exterior and even more fabulous detailed interior, it sets the scene and has clearly been well thought out.

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Upon arrival we were welcomed (well, actually my husband was, I was busy taking photos for you), shown to a seat and once I had made my way to the cozy corner a waiter quickly came over to politely ask if we’d like any drinks. We ordered our drinks and took quite a while to order (the waiter asked if we’d like more time and we agreed).  Upon his return we asked him some more questions about portion size and he gave us an indication of this (very useful).

We ordered the burger and lobster to share and oh my goodness…the burger was delicious!! This is a massive statement for me as I am not really someone who would ordinarily choose to eat a burger.

It was so succulent and a little too tall for my mouth (just ate one of the layers by itself, problem solved).  We had fun trying to tease the lobster meat out of the shell and a couple of sides accompanied this platter to share which was coleslaw, fries and I found this slightly odd – Macaroni cheese.  All very tasty but a bit carb heavy for my liking but for muscly men – I would think this would not be a problem.

I would also generally go by the rule of “a lady always has room for desert” but alas this was the one time I felt I neither needed one or wanted one – so well done Blockhouse for that 😉 We only managed a coffee each and laughed at the irony in size of our drinks (my hubby clearly had a lot more carbs).

I really do recommend this restaurant for it’s delicious food, fabulous customer service and great atmosphere.  I’m sure one evening (when I manage to keep my eyes open) we’ll visit for drinks and something to eat.

Dance to Live Music – Restoke

Our mission (and we chose to accept it) is to discover new activities in and around North Staffordshire and to give you the inside scoop on it.

We came across a really interesting company based in Stoke On Trent, called “Restoke” which combines a fabulous recipe of dance, live music and storytelling to to create unique performances with people of all ages and experience levels.

We asked Clare Reynolds a bit more about Restoke and here is what she said:

Can you tell us more about the person who runs the workshop?

Yes, I am a trained dancer with over 10 years experience of delivering and creating dance work in the community.  The workshops are open to beginners, you don’t need dance experience just an open-mind to come and try something new!

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We think it sounds really interesting!

Do you run the Saturday Movement Workshops at regular intervals?
The Saturday Movement  will run once per month throughout 2017.  The next dates are

  • 17th June 10:30am – 12:30pm
  • 15th July   10:30am – 12:30pm.

We also run a creative dance session for children beforehand from 9:30am – 10:30am.  This is for 5-11 year olds (younger children are welcome with participating grown ups)!

How fit do participants need to be?

You don’t need to consider yourself fit at all.  The workshops can be accessed at your own level and we offer adaptations to movement tasks to make them possible for all bodies!

What can we expect when we walk through the door?

You can expect live music, smiling faces and a supportive atmosphere for all-comers!  The workshops will include a warm-up, creative dance exercises, dances in pairs, group movement tasks, stretching and relaxation.

What should I wear/bring with me to Saturday Movement?

Loose comfortable clothing (layers are good).  We dance bare foot, and best to bring a bottle of water.

This sounds great! How do we book?

Email Clare@restoke.org.uk to let us know you are coming and ask any questions you may have.  The workshops are £8 (or pay what you can) which is paid on the day, and £5 for the children’s class.  It’d be great to see you there!

Thank you Clare, it sounds brilliant and we are really happy that you offer a children’s class too.  Thank you for taking the time to talk to us.

If you would like to see a bit more of Restoke here is a great video:

 

Why “Actively Be You”?

Who are you?
I am a slightly silly (quite a lot if you ask my friends) mum of two very active crazies (my munchkins), two furry babies (I am a slightly mad cat woman too), virtual plate spinner of life a5f242bf1-f81a-4cd5-9196-97513cd755a3nd yes – they sometimes fall but I search for a new one or glue them together –  voluntary committee member at my local running club and voluntary Branch Coordinator at a parent focussed group. Of course before all that I was a wife and prior to that I was his best friend. Seriously though, we are still best friends but we just don’t get as much time these days.

Why the social media campaign, I hear you say.  It stems from my newfound passion for running (I’ve been running for a year) combined to back to when I arrived in North Staffordshire with a humongous 37 weeks bump (with polyhydramnios, but that’s not important right now), lots of boxes, my husband and our cats.  I knew n
obody and because my pre natal appointments were all in Manchester I had no Mummy (or Daddy) friends in the area and literally kn2014-03-22 16.09.42ew nobody so I am hoping that this campaign encourages local Mums & Dads to post what their family has been up
to in the local vicinity (and further afield because who doesn’t love a day trip?)

What is your social media campaign, I hear you say. Great question, I have a Facebook page called ActivelyBeYou, Instagram called actively_be_you and am also on Twitter as you might have guessed @ActivelyBeYou. Feel free to drop by and chat about where you’ve been that you hate or is great and why. I like to think we can build up the group as a North Staffs hub to help Parents in the area providing information on events, groups and activities to keep our munchkins active and try to tire them out (yeah it’s me that yawns when I read a bedtime story). I am 39, so it’s possible I may need a Nana nap but that’s probably more to do with my passion for running and my feeble attempts at trying to keep my house tidy.

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